Artisanal Hydrographs
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In every craft …

There are the tricks to the trade.

Good graphing combines requires math and art

Clarification: They are not tricks. They are usually hard-fought lessons learned over time, more repetition than inspiration although both factor in, not to mention discipline, too. The discipline for me is trying to update the data every week, mostly for the purpose of keeping track of where the water is at, but also as a way to constantly refine my data visualization techniques. Granted, this isn’t all that I do, but over time I’ve tried to make it a key part of my work flow. I’ve become a better hydrologist as a result, and hopefully helped others — experts and lay enthusiasts alike — easily see key trends.

Key elements of the hydrographs include:

  • Focus on major index wells. For example, in Water Conservation 3A, I give priority to regulatory stage. From an operational and conversational standpoint, it’s a go-to site for understanding the headwaters of Everglades National Park.
  • Statistics are calculated from 1993 to present, what I call the modern era. This is also an artifact of most stations containing continuous data records from the mid-1990s on.
  • Every hydrograph has a complementary raster (i.e. calendar) graph which are color coordinated. This is vital because it allows you to see the most recent years in more detail but also sneak a pretty detailed birds-eye view decades back.
  • Every hydrograph showcases major ecological and operational thresholds. For the Big Cypress, that means showing water depth relative to alligator holes, the center of cypress domes, marl prairies, pinelands and hammocks.
  • I try to update the hydrographs weekly. Why weekly? Daily is too much work, and really — from a management standpoint — weekly is usually good enough
Water level staff gage
A water level “along by itself” is useless without the statistical, operational and ecological thresholds

The big development is this:

For many years I’ve struggled to put the graphs in a place on the blog that were easy to update and most importantly, easy for other to find. I am hoping this new data page helps solve this problem. Just click on the “charts icon” and it should serve up the most recent updates to the charts.

Go to Charts

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